2011 is winding down on a high note for me. I have just finished my 300th book of the year this morning, and enjoyed the title very much. I have started another novel- a tween book that is also turning out to be a book I am enjoying and have purchased for my school library. There are many books to still look forward to.
The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow is a non-fiction look at Becker's Bridal shop, a fourth generation family business that still operates in the small town of Fowler, Michigan. Although this book looks at the bridal business and also chronicles eight families' quest for a bridal gown and their story, Zaslow's initial intent was to look at the topic of love as he raises his own daughters.
Zaslow is able to alternate between the story of Becker's Bridal Shop and its history as well as the eight brides' stories he shares. Each is a unique story - from a widowed mother of five who is remarrying to a young woman injured in a car accident just a few months before her wedding and still undergoing therapy and medical procedures to correct the injuries she sustains. I enjoyed reading about each bride and their path to this small town bridal shop.
As times have changed I am amazed that this small town business can still exist and compete with the bridal chains and other competitors, a testament to the concept of hard work and excellent customer service, creating a place where mothers want to take their daughters as they look to plan a wedding.
I enjoyed Zaslow's writing, which I became familiar with while reading The Girls from Ames, also by Zaslow. Yet, there were times when I felt he made things seem too picture perfect, something I noticed in his previous book. As someone who is married and planned a wedding, I didn't really relate to Zaslow's theory of such a preoccupation with the wedding dress a bride-to-be selected. Tears were not shed by me or my mother or anyone else who saw me in my wedding dress. I didn't stand in a Magic Room on a pedestal to model my dress for a group of bridesmaids as many of these women did. While I do wish I had perhaps looked longer or had a better idea of the type of dress I wanted, the importance placed on this event in this book seems over the top to me.
Still, The Magic Room made for good reading. I enjoyed reading about the changes in brides through the years, the personal stories of future brides, and the ins and outs of this family business.
The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow was accessed via Net Galley.